Do you wince every time your phone rings and it shows an unknown number? Does the phrase “May I please speak with [your full name]?” strike fear into your heart? Sound familiar?
Certain debt collection activity is illegal if your debts have been discharged through bankruptcy. You’ve already gone through the painful process that is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and you’re trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. Bankruptcy is meant to be a fresh start. You shouldn’t also have to endure constant contact or harassment from debt collectors who may be breaking the law.
We Are Investigating Potential Class Action Lawsuits Against Debt Collectors
We’ve already had a successful suit against one collection agency,1 and are investigating cases against others. Please contact us if:
- You filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and
- Your debts were discharged, and
- A debt collector has contacted you by telephone, voicemail, letter, text message, email, or in-person, on or after January 1, 2017, to collect on any of your pre-bankruptcy debt.
Save and document anything you receive from debt collectors. Their communication does not necessarily have to be hostile or threatening, nor does it have to be persistent. Potential claims are not limited to just North Carolina debt collector victims.
We are investigating potential cases against any debt collector who continues to contact debtors who successfully discharged their debt through Chapter 7.
A $1.2 Million Win for Our North Carolina Clients2
Our experienced team of litigation attorneys here at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin (along with co-counsel) recently settled a case in North Carolina for $1.2 million for a class of people dealing with this very issue.2 This particular debt collector continued to try to collect on our client’s discharged debts, which violated both federal and state law. In the course of investigating our client’s case, we found 12,000 more individuals whose rights may have been violated under federal and state consumer laws. We believe many more creditors may have taken similar illegal action against people who’ve filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and had their debts discharged. Are you one of those people whose rights have been violated?
Consumer Rights in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), NCCAA, and NCDCA
The federal law that protects consumers from collector harassment is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, a potential plaintiff has up to one year after the date of the debt collector contact to file litigation. This one-year period is established by the FDCPA’s “Statute of Limitations.” North Carolina also has its own debtor-protection laws, the North Carolina Collection Agency Act (NCCAA) and the North Carolina Debt Collection Act (NCDCA). Under these laws, individuals have up to three years after the date of the debt collector contact to file litigation.
What Collections Agencies Cannot Do During and After Bankruptcy Proceedings
If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, creditors are obligated to stop contacting you, and are prevented from further collecting actions or suing you for outstanding debts while your case is pending in bankruptcy court. This is called the “automatic stay,” and is something every debt collector should know and understand – in theory.
If you’ve hired a lawyer to help you through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process:
- Inform the debt collector that you have filed for bankruptcy and your case is pending;
- Record, save, or take detailed notes of the contact; and
- Let the debt collector know that it has to talk to your bankruptcy lawyer.
The debt collector may or may not cease contact with you at this point. If they don’t stop after you’ve informed them of your bankruptcy, keep recording, saving, and keeping tally of their communications. Then contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.
Do These Debt Collection Agencies Sound Familiar?
Some of the largest debt collection agencies in the U.S. include:
- Transworld Systems Inc, or TSI
- NCO Financial, or NCO Group, Inc.
- Midland Credit Management
- Portfolio Recovery Associates, or PRA Group, Inc.
- LVNV Funding Collection Agency
- Altus Receivables Management
- Encore Capital Group
- Enhanced Recovery Company (ERC)
- Rozlin Financial Group
- Weltman, Weinberg & Reis
The list of debt collection agencies that serve the entire U.S., and local ones that serve only North Carolina, number in the thousands. After a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should be focusing on how you can best get back on your feet, not fending off debt collectors.
What’s more, creditors know they can’t keep contacting you after you’ve filed for bankruptcy, but you may find that some of them defy consumer laws or simply fail to check bankruptcy filings to remove discharged debts from their collection list. When that happens to you or someone you know, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. We know what to do, and creditors know we mean business. Contact our team here, or call us at 1-866-900-7078.